During the season, Rick Porcello led the American League in victories -- but not much else. In a host of other categories, Porcello was among the league leaders, but often, a few places back of others.
In the balloting for the American League Cy Young Award, it was much the same. Porcello didn't get the most first-place votes, but got the most points overall, managing a slim victory over former teammate Justin Verlander to become the fourth pitcher in Red Sox history win the honor.
In a season marked by steady excellence rather than flashy brilliance, Porcello got just eight first-place votes out of 30, but became the first Red Sox pitcher since 2000 to win the Cy Young award by virtue of the most second-place votes (18).
He edged out Verlander 137-132 in the second-closest A.L. Cy Young voting since 1970.
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"I went about my day like I normally would,'' recounted Porcello, who was nearly overcome with emotion when the results were revealed. "I didn't really think too much about (the award), right up to this point. I still haven't. I didn't look at statistics. I knew the basic lines we all had (Corey Kluber, the other finalist, finished third). I knew the basic lines we all had, but other than that...''
Porcello's season represented a huge turnaround from his first year in Boston when he won just nine games and compiled a 4.92 ERA.
He said Wednesday that he hadn't given much to winning the Cy Young award until he won his 20th game in September.
"I knew that I was having a good year right after the All-Star break,'' he recalled. "I felt like I had the weapons and command to get out just about any guy in the lineup. It was about making pitches, staying consistent, controlling the tempo and attacking the guys in the lineup.''
He said he felt honored to be put in an exclusive group of Red Sox starters who have won, a club that includes Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.
"It's pretty incredible to be mentioned (with them),'' he said. "It doesn't feel right right now, just because I grew up watching those guys and had the utmost respect for them. To be in that category, I can't express my gratitude. It's pretty humbling.''
Verlander had the most number of strikeouts among the three finalists, along with the lowest WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), ERA and innings pitched.
But Porcello had the best walk-to-strikeout ratio, and, though it's a stat that has been largely discounted in recent seasons for starting pitchers, the most wins.
"I've said there's a lot of things that you can't control (as a starting pitcher),'' Porcello said. "But I do believe there's a lot of thing you can control. There's a way to go out and pitch. One (way) is an aggressive (approach), the way you go through a lineup, getting your team off the field and into the dugout (quickly). And there's a way to pitch passively.
"There's a certain attitude you have to carry on the mound. And as much as you might want to discount wins and losses, there's also a lot of value to it. If there wasn't value to (wins), we wouldn't be keeping the stat and it wouldn't be the first thing you see (next to a pitcher's name when he's on the mound).''
Porcello finds value in some of the sabermetric numbers, but added there was still something significant about the more traditional numbers such as wins, ERA and strikeouts -- or what he labeled the "meat-and-potato" stats.
Disappointed as he was with the Red Sox quick exit from the playoffs, Porcello is already looking forward to having a better season in 2017 - and that includes his individual success.
"There's no reason to be complacent,'' he said, "and no reason for (the improvement) to stop. I want to continue to get better.''